Big cash pay-out for London construction workers

Over a hundred construction workers at three high profile projects across London have collectively secured an estimated £250,000 pounds worth of holiday pay after a Unite organising campaign forced their employer to pay up.

Over 150 construction workers working for Byrnes Bros at construction projects including Westfield in White City, The International Quarter in Stratford and 100 Bishopsgate have secured payments of between £400 and £1000 each with further back payments to follow after the workers joined forces to demand their full holiday entitlements.

Workers were getting holiday pay based on 39 hours a week but in reality they often worked around 55 hours because they were compelled to work overtime on Saturdays.

When the workers first approached Byrne Bros management they were ignored, until construction workers at different sites, backed by Unite,  joined forces and commenced a campaign which culminated in a collective grievance.

Management then tried to deal with the grievance on an individual basis but workers insisted on a collective remedy to the underpayments. Eventually because of union pressure, management conceded and Byrne Bros are now in the process of paying every worker what they are rightfully owed, including back pay.

The pay-out could lead the way for similar claims across the construction industry as Unite continues to build union influence across the sector and construction workers learn about the pay-out.

Unite regional officer Mark Soave said:

“This is a fantastic result with significant sums of money for the workers at Byrne’s Brothers. Even though they  were entitled to more money, management tried to avoid the payments. After a hard fought campaign Byrne Bros eventually realised the strength of feeling amongst the workers and agreed to the pay-outs worth hundreds of thousands.

“Just because you have a right to be paid more it doesn’t mean bosses will automatically pay up, that’s why it pays to be in a union that is prepared to enforce your rights at work.”

Unite is a union that campaigns for and delivers better pay and conditions for its members. Unite is winning at work based on three core values. Secure Work: fighting for jobs and job security, Strong Voice: a union which is a respected voice at work and Decent Pay: a union focussed on pay and conditions.